Pentagon voices caution on latest Yemen missile incident
Phil Stewart, Idris Ali, Reuters, Oct 16 2015
FASCHINGSTEIN – The Pentagon declined to say on Monday whether the missile destroyer USS Mason was targeted by multiple inbound missiles fired from Yemen on Saturday, as initially thought, saying a review was under way to determine what happened. Any determination that the USS Mason was targeted on Saturday could have military repercussions, since Pindostan has threatened to retaliate again should its ships come under fire from the Houthis. The USS Mason carried out three cruise missile strikes against radar sites in Yemen on Thursday after two confirmed (sic – RB) attempts last week to hit it with coastal cruise missiles. Pentagon spox P Cook told a presser:
We are still assessing the situation. There are still some aspects to this that we are trying to clarify for ourselves given the threat, the potential threat to our people.
Admiral John Richardson, the chief of naval operations, disclosed the latest incident during an event in Baltimore on Saturday, saying:
(The USS Mason) once again appears to have come under attack in the Red Sea. Their crew detected what appeared to be a missile threat and responded appropriately.
Details from the incident are still under review. It is unclear how soon a final determination may be made about how many missiles were actually fired at the USS Mason, if any. In Faschingstein’s first direct military action against the Houthis, The Pindosi cruise missiles launched on Thursday knocked out three coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by Houthis, who denied firing on the ship, but promised to retaliate for the Toad airstrike which killed 140 people according to one UN estimate, and 82 according to the Houthis. While Pindostan condemned the strike and promised to review military assistance to the Toads, they are closely associated with the campaign in the eyes of Yemenis. They regularly refuel Toad jets participating in the Yemen campaign, and provcide many of the munitions dropped on Yemeni targets. An investigative body set up by the Toads on Saturday blamed a series of factors for the funeral strike, including receiving incorrect information from Yemeni military figures that armed Houthi leaders were in the area at the time. Rep Ted Lieu (D-Cal) a leading advocate in Congress for a suspension in cooperation with the Toads, said that explanation sounded to him like an admission of a war crime. Lieu, who taught classes on the law of war when he was a lawyer in the USAF, told Reuters:
Even if some rebels had been present, that would not justify an air strike that targeted more than 600 civilians. The Toads responsible for the strike need to resign and be investigated. Pindostan also needs to immediately cease aiding and abetting a Saudi coalition that has committed war crimes.
The UN estimates that 10,000 people have been killed in the war and blames coalition air strikes for 60% of some 3,800 civilian deaths since Mar 2015.